Mr. Liu Zhenmin Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs

Opening Remarks
Side Event on “The science is in: Ambitious Action will deliver a win-win for Climate and Sustainable Development”

Distinguished participants,
Dear Colleagues
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I extend a warm welcome to you at this UNDESA-AOSIS side event entitled “The science is in: Ambitious Action will deliver a win-win for Climate and Sustainable Development”. The aim today is to outline the finding of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Report, and to connect the dots on how the Nationally Determine Contributions (NDCs) can harvest synergies between climate action and the SDGs.

Dear Colleagues,

We have been reminded, and the Science is in, that Climate Change is moving faster than we are. Its speed is provoking a sonic boom “SOS” across our world. If we do not immediately change course, we risk missing the point where we can avoid runaway climate change, with disastrous consequences for people and all the natural systems that sustain us.

A clear message from the IPCC Report is that we are already experiencing the consequences of 1°C global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes. The decisions we make today are critical for ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future. Limiting global warming would give people and ecosystems more room to adapt and remain below relevant risk thresholds. But this would require rapid and far reaching transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. The IPCC report provides policy makers and practitioners with information they need to make decisions that tackles climate change while considering the local context and people’s needs.

Distinguished colleagues,

From a development perspective, the 2030 Agenda is for all countries and actors, both developed and developing. All SDGs are interlinked, and were designed to leave no one behind. To be sustainable, all development aspects must be risk-informed. Moreover, a multi-stakeholder approach defines the core of the 2030 Agenda and the SDGs. Thus, each and every one of us has a role to play. We are all in this together.

So far, national-level implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement, including in many SIDS, have been proceeding on different tracks, despite growing recognition of the ample opportunities they present for creating synergies. Joining up implementation requires governments to make significant shifts in institutional, policy, financial, and monitoring frameworks in order to enhance policy coherence, and cost efficiency.

Distinguished participants,

Development does not take place in a vacuum as we know. Both the 2030 Agenda and the Paris Agreement reflect this understanding. The SDGs include many climate-related actions, and the NDCs also cover development topics that range far beyond a narrow interpretation of climate change mitigation and adaptation. Therefore, the steps we take to reach our development goals can have significant implications for all our development ambitions.

Countries commitments and ambitions, including in many SIDS, often go far beyond SDG 13 on climate action. In fact they span across, for instance, SDGs 2; 7; 6; 11; 15 and 17. Because the implementation of many NDCs is conditional and depends on the provision of finance, there are also many relevant connections between the implementation of the Paris Agreement and SDG 17 on Means of Implementation and Global Partnership, which, among other things, seeks to mobilize financial resources for developing countries. These connections emphasize the need for both partnership and policy coherence between the two agendas.

Indeed, the adverse impacts of climate change directly impact almost all the SDGs. Thus, UNDESA is pleased to continue its partnership with SIDS in facilitating dialogue on topical climate and developmental issues affecting the most vulnerable. We started this in COP23 and plan to continue at COP25.


I thank you for your attention and wish you a very fruitful discussion this afternoon.

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